29 July 2014

AUS: Defence Minister approves First Pass for SEA 1397, Nulka upgrade

Nulka Active Missile Decoy System
(Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston today announced the Government has given First Pass approval to update the Nulka Active Missile Decoy launch capability under project SEA 1397 Phase 5B.

Nulka is a sophisticated anti ship missile defence system, jointly developed by Australia and the United States during the 1990s, and today is in service with the Royal Australian Navy and the navies of the United States and Canada.

By 2019, the Nulka system will be fitted to 166 ships worldwide, including protecting United States aircraft carriers.

“I am pleased to be able to announce that the Government has approved First Pass for SEA 1397 Phase 5B – Nulka launch sub-system upgrade, including around $45 million in funding,” Senator Johnston said.

“This project aims to update and replace the existing Nulka launch sub-system for Australian ships.”

USA: Ships Arrive in Singapore for CARAT

By Lt. Lauryn Dempsey, Destroyer Squadron 7 Public Affairs

<< USS Halsey (DDG 97), left, arrives July 28 as USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) sits moored along the pier at Changi Naval Base. (U.S. Navy/MCC Kimberly R. Stephens)

CHANGI NAVAL BASE, Singapore - USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and USS Halsey (DDG 97) are in port Singapore July 28 in advance of the 2014 Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise with the Republic of Singapore Navy.

Under the command of Destroyer Squadron 7, the two ships will participate in a number of in port exchanges and underway evolutions with their Singaporean counterparts.

"The RSN is one of the world's most capable navies and a terrific partner in this incredibly important maritime region of the world," said Capt. Fred Kacher, DESRON 7 commodore and co-commander of the exercise's task group. "Over the next week, our two navies will execute one of the most advanced underway programs in the CARAT exercise series and I can't wait to see our navies working together again at sea."

USA: Counselor Podesta Leads U.S. Delegation to the Pacific Islands Forum

Counselor to the President John Podesta
(Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

Counselor to the President John Podesta will lead a high-level U.S. Government delegation to the Pacific Islands Forum Post Forum Dialogue (PIF PFD) on August 1 in Koror, Palau, to highlight and build upon our historic relations with the peoples and nations of the Pacific. The U.S. delegation will include senior officials from the National Security Council, United States Pacific Command, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of State, Department of the Interior, U.S. Peace Corps, U.S. Agency for International Development, and the State of Hawaii.

Following former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s attendance at the PIF PFD in 2012 and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell’s attendance as Head of Delegation in 2013, this high-level delegation demonstrates continued U.S. commitment to the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region and to issues that are of utmost importance to the Pacific Islands, including oceans, climate change, renewable energy, economic growth, sustainable development, and environmental conservation.

India: IAF Receives the 6th C-17 Globemaster III in the Presence of Hon’ble Defence Minister Shri Arun Jaitley

IAF C-17 Globemaster III Transport Aircraft (File Photo)

The IAF received its Sixth C-17 Globemaster III when it touched down at 1205 hrs at Palam Airbase today. On its arrival, the Hon’ble Defence Minister Shri Arun Jaitley visited the Airbase and familiarized himself with the aircraft. The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha conducted the Hon’ble minister through the aircraft and briefed him on the Strategic Capability and Role of the aircraft. The Hon’ble minister was also given a detailed brief by the Commanding Officer Group Captain BS Reddy. 

The government accorded approval to buy 10 C-17 Globemaster III along with associated equipment for the IAF in June 2011. The first of the 10 aircraft touched down in India on 18th June 2013 and the delivery of all 10 is expected to be completed by December 2014. This aircraft will enhance the operational potential of the IAF with its payload carriage and performance (about 75 Tones) and would augment the strategic reach (about 4500 Kms) of the nation during Operations, Disaster Relief or any similar mission. 

The ceremony was attended by Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command (WAC) Air Marshal SS Soman and other senior IAF and MoD Officials. 

News Story: China Air Force will need 400 Y-20 military transport aircraft to catch up U.S. and Russian Air Forces

Y-20 Cargo Aircraft

The People's Liberation Army will need at least 400 Y-20 cargo planes produced by the Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation in order to catch up with the force projection capabilities of the United States, Russia and India, according to a report published by the National Defense University of China cited in the party-run People's Daily.

The report said that the three-dimensional transportation network in China consisting of air, ground and maritime vehicles will play an important role in improve the force projection capability of the Chinese military. During an exercise in 2009, passenger and cargo planes from civilian airlines were mobilized to transfer 50,000 officers from China's four different military regions to participate in the exercise along with military aircraft and ground transporation.

Read the full story at Air Recognition

News Story: India To Sell Partial Stake in HAL

Tejas LCA currently under development by HAL


NEW DELHI — India will sell 10 percent of its 100 percent stake in monopoly military aircraft producer Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), a senior Defence Ministry official said. All formalities have been cleared and the 10 percent stake will be put on sale by October, the official said.

HAL, with an annual turnover of US $2.53 billion, is the country’s sole producer of military aircraft. It plans to use money from the sale to finance a $5 billion modernization of the company, said the MoD official.

The government, however, has no plans to privatize HAL by selling over 50 percent of its stake in the company, the MoD official clarified.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

Editorial: North Korea's Middle East Pivot

By Zachary Keck

North Korea has a long history of funneling weapons to Palestinian and other Middle Eastern militant groups.

Over at China Power, Shannon notes that Beijing is reluctant to get deeply involved in the Middle East. China’s client state in Pyongyang, however, appears to be much less apprehensive.
According to Con Coughlin, the Defense Editor at the London Telegraph, Hamas and North Korea are currently negotiating an arms deal to resupply the Palestinian militant group with missiles it has lost during its current conflict with Israel.
“Security officials say the deal between Hamas and North Korea is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and is being handled by a Lebanese-based trading company with close ties to the militant Palestinian organisation based in east Beirut,” Coughlin reports.
The report, which cites unnamed Western security officials, says that the deal is reportedly for hundreds of missiles and communications equipment. It also claims that Hamas has already provided a down payment on the weapons. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Japan Sanctions Russia Over Ukraine

By Ankit Panda

New Japanese sanctions against Russia lower hopes for a resolution to the Kuril Islands dispute between the two countries.

Japan announced that it will impose greater sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine, including support for the anti-Ukrainian government separatists that are accused of shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. This answers one of the questions Zach and I briefly discussed on The Diplomat‘s Asia Geopolitics recently: would Japan jeopardize the diplomatic progress made between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin on potentially resolving the long-standing Kuril Islands dispute in order to bring its policy towards Russia in line with that of the United States and Europe? A consequence of Tokyo’s decision to continue to sanction Russia is that the Kuril Islands territorial dispute between the two countries, which appeared to be heading towards a bilateral diplomatic resolution earlier in Abe’s second term, will likely be shelved for a different era in Russia-Japan relations.
According to the Associated Press, Japan will freeze the assets of “individuals and groups supporting the separation of Crimea from Ukraine” and restrict imports from Crimea. Japan will additionally freeze funds for new projects in Russia in line with the policy of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The sanctions are yet to be officially endorsed by Shinzo Abe’s cabinet but that decision is expected later this week. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called on Russia to help resolve the conflict in Ukraine: ”We urge Russia to exercise influence over separatist groups in Ukraine so that they will cooperate in the international probe into the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down,” adding that ”Japan truly hopes that the Ukrainian situation will be resolved as soon as possible through diplomatic dialogue.” 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: China Holds Annual Military Drills in East, South China Seas

By Shannon Tiezzi

The PLA is holding live fire exercises off China’s southeastern and southern coasts.

China Military Online reports that the People’s Liberation Army will carry out live-fire drills in the East China Sea from July 29 to August 2. In preparation for the drills, the Chinese government issued a navigation notice banning maritime vessels from entering an area of the East China Sea bordering southeastern Zhejiang province, roughly 200 kilometers north of the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. AXinhua report reposted by China’s Ministry of Defense described the exercises as “routine training.”
Meanwhile, China is also holding military drills in the south. Bloomberg reports that China is “holding live-fire drills” in the Gulf of Tonkin. Though the drills are reportedly part of an annual exercise, the scope of this year’s exercises is larger than previous versions. Ni Lexiong, a defense researcher at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, told South China Morning Post  that such large drills in China’s eastern coastal region were uncommon, and likely intended as a warning to Japan. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Is China Threatening or Defending the Postwar Regional Order?

By Jin Kai

China believes that it is defending, rather than upsetting, the post WW2 regional order.

The international community and a number of major Western media outlets have constantly questioned China’s role in the Asia-Pacific region as the country continues its rapid emergence. A popular view describes China as a violator of or threat to the regional order. For example, shortly after China declared an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea, an article in The National Interest talked about “China’s war on international norms” and denounced China’s “unilateral attempt to alter the regional status quo.” Such articles imply that China is a threat to the regional order.
Meanwhile, China has been trying to present itself as a defender of the postwar regional order. For example, during Premier Li Keqiang’s first government work report (delivered to the National People’s Congress in 2014), he included a new reference to China’s determination to “safeguard the victory of World War II and the postwar international order.” More recently, as this Saturday marked the 69th anniversary of the Potsdam Declaration, Chinese media took advantage of the opportunity to revisit the end of World War II and the new regional order that emerged after the war. These reports, like one in Xinhua, describe the Potsdam Declaration as “an important document which helped establish international order after World War II.” The articles argue that Japan is violating the Potsdam Declaration and thus the postwar international order in important ways (for example, by pursuing remilitarization). China’s opposition to these moves, then, makes China a staunch defender of the postwar order.
These differing media analyses from China and the West pose a fundamental question: Is China a threat to or a defender of the postwar regional order in East Asia? 

Read the full story at The Diplomat